Written by Kevin Volz.
The “buy one, give one” business model has created an army of companies who appeal to consumers interested in giving back to those in need. These businesses allow customers to purchase things like shoes or eyeglasses for themselves, with the promise that the company will in turn donate a pair to someone in need. Kritika Cerreta and her husband Joshua, the co-founders of KnotProfit, are taking this business model and applying it to weddings.
“With KnotProft, a portion of every flower you buy and every gift you receive supports a charity of your choice” said Kritika. “This is all done organically, without couples having to sacrifice any part of their wedding experience.”
KnotProfit couples create a wedding website that includes the details of their ceremony, a place for guests to RSVP and their KnotProfit registry. KnotProfit registries differ from most standard gift registries because they are not restricted to household items like coffee makers or blenders. Instead, couples can register for items or experiences that they actually want, including honeymoon airfare or money for student loans.
“Family members love helping out and paying for something that they know the couple actually needs,” said Kritika. “At the same time, couples have the satisfaction of giving back and supporting a charity of their choice.”
The KnotProfit platform also supplies couples with a database of wedding vendors such as photographers, florists and caterers who are all willing to donate at least 10 percent of their service’s fees to the couple’s charity.
“When we started KnotProfit we talked to a lot of vendors who said they loved supporting couples who were doing something charitable with their wedding, but there was no structured way for them to do so,” said Kritika. “KnotProfit offers a solution to streamline the giving process.”
Once they had developed the idea for their business, Kritika and Joshua applied to Flashstarts, an accelerator in Cleveland and a regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. Flashstarts was KnotProfit’s first investor, providing $25,000 in seed funding when the company entered the program. In addition to funding, the Flashstarts team also connected Kritika and Joshua to a variety of investors, mentors and interns, and helped them enter pitch competitions to secure more funding.
“The Flashstarts team really understood where we were coming from,” said Kritika. “We felt a great deal of support throughout our time in the program, and they continue to support us today. We still work with the interns they provided, and their leadership team checks in on us at least every other week.”
In addition to the support from Flashstarts, the strong community of entrepreneurs in northeast Ohio is why Kritika and Joshua are committed to keeping their business in the area.
“There’s a true difference in northeast Ohio when it comes to how close the startup community is,” said Kritika. “You walk into pitch competitions and see 10 people who know your business inside and out. These people have seen us from the start, have seen how we’ve grown and can help us make new connections with people who will push our business even further.”